With technology moving faster than ever, it’s hard to imagine what careers will look like 20 years from now. But The Canadian Scholarship Trust Plan (CST), a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to helping Canadian families save for their children’s post-secondary education, wanted to find out.
With help from foresight strategists, CST took a look into the future to find the jobs that may be commonplace by the year 2030.
Never heard of a ‘robot counselor?’ You may by 2030
They examined macro and micro trends that “appear to be shaping the future,” explains Martha Turner, a vice president at CST. “These trends include aging and demographic changes, climate and energy changes, immigration and globalization, digital technology, scientific and technological advances, personalization resulting from leveraging big data, security, and stability.”
CST also partnered with over 40 different thought leaders across a wide variety of industries to better understand the future of their respective fields.
“While these jobs are speculative in nature, there’s a strong likelihood that many of them will emerge,” Turner says. “There are many technological advances that have already been made and are simply ‘waiting in the wings’ for commercial development. Although it all sounds very sci-fi in 2014, it’s based on developments that are currently taking place. What we’re projecting is not so much the emergence of new technologies that don’t exist yet, but the refinement and deployment of those that are currently being developed.”
Here are nine jobs that will likely be available in 2030, according to CST:
1. Tele-surgeon: These surgeons operate on people remotely with robotic tools instead of human hands.
2. Nostalgist: Nostalgists are interior designers specializing in recreating memories for retired people. The elderly of 2030 who don’t want to reside in a typical “retirement village” will have the luxury of living in a space inspired by their favorite decade or place.
3. Re-wilder: These professionals were formally called “farmers.” The role of the rewilder, however, is not to raise food crops, but rather to undo environmental damage to the countryside caused by people, factories, cars, etc.
4. Simplicity expert: The simplicity experts of 2030 are interested in looking at how businesses can simplify and streamline their operations. For instance, they can reduce 15 administrative steps to three, or four interviews to one, or three days of work to a half hour.
5. Garbage designer: Garbage designers find creative ways to turn the by-products of the manufacturing process into high-quality materials for making another entirely separate product.
6. Robot counselor: In 2030, robots will play a greater part in providing home care and services than they do today. The robot counselor will be a resource for picking the right bot for a family, by observing how the family interacts and identifying their needs and lifestyle.
7. Healthcare navigator: These professionals teach patients and their loved ones about the ins and outs of a complicated medical system. The navigator also helps people to manage their contact with the medical system with the least amount of stress and delay.
8. Solar technology specialist: These specialists may own land where they manage a large spread of solar grids, to sell the harvested power to stations and other communities — or they may work as consultants in cities and other urban spaces, helping building owners to design, build, and maintain solar panels.
9. Aquaponic fish farmer: In 2030, populations of wild fish are disappearing — so new production methods like aquaponics will step in to replace fish that we can no longer catch in the wild. Aquaponics combines fish farming with gardening, where plants grow over water to cover its surface, while fish live below. The plants return oxygen to the water, and the fish produce waste that provides fertilizer for the plants.
“Students today are under a lot of pressure to streamline their career path at an early age,” Turner says. “Many are expected to determine their field of expertise in high school, and this often leads to unnecessary anxiety and stress.” This research, she says, is all about encouraging students to explore different areas of study that they may not have even imagined. “By highlighting the skills and education required to pursue these jobs, we hope to give students the tools they need to build their own unique education and career paths.”
It’s also important for students and parents to start thinking about jobs that might exist in 15 or 20 years for financial reasons, she adds. “This research has indicated that it’s increasingly critical to have a post-secondary education, which also means that you should start saving for your education as early as possible.”